For the past year, Sarah Eldridge has dedicated herself to volunteering for Sleepbus, an organisation that provides safe sleep for those experiencing homelessness. In her short time with the organisation, Sarah has clocked in an impressive 130 hours of service, touching the lives of 375 individuals in need.

Sarah’s journey into volunteering with Sleepbus was inspired by a desire to give back to her community and support the growing number of homeless individuals in Hervey Bay. Witnessing the final stages of Sleepbus’s completion, Sarah recognised an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. The flexibility of volunteering with Sleepbus, which allows individuals to choose their roles and work when they can, perfectly complemented Sarah’s busy lifestyle.

One memorable experience stands out amidst Sarah’s time as a Sleepbus volunteer – the joy and gratitude she witnessed firsthand from the guests who sought shelter on the bus. The laughter and camaraderie among volunteers, coupled with the poignant stories shared by guests, have left an indelible mark on Sarah’s heart. Volunteering has reshaped Sarah’s perspective of homelessness, reminding her that it can happen to anyone and emphasising the importance of community support and compassion.

One particular encounter that left a lasting impression on Sarah occurred when a family, consisting of a mother and her two young boys, sought refuge on the Sleepbus. The sheer excitement and gratitude displayed by the boys upon receiving their own beds underscored the profound impact of Sleepbus’s mission. Their story serves as a poignant reminder of the transformative power of empathy and assistance during times of hardship.

When asked to describe her volunteer journey in one word or phrase, Sarah chose “rewarding.” Indeed, her experience with Sleepbus has not only allowed her to support others in their time of need but has also enriched her life in ways she never imagined. From the friendships forged with fellow volunteers to the sense of belonging within a community united in compassion, Sarah’s volunteer journey has been nothing short of transformative.

For those considering volunteering, Sarah offers simple yet profound advice – find an area of interest, develop new skills, and give back to the community. After all, as Sarah’s journey demonstrates, the rewards of volunteering extend far beyond the act itself, encompassing a sense of fulfillment, belonging, and newfound purpose.